European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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18 January 2017

Italy: Constitutional Court rejects a referendum on a key provision of the labour market reform

Susanna Camusso

Italy’s main trade union confederation, the Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL), lost its case before the Constitutional Court, which on 11 January 2017 rejected the proposal for a popular referendum to repeal a highly controversial provision of that law. The ‘Jobs Act’ on the reform of the labour market had repealed a very emblematic provision of Italy’s social relations, i.e. Article 18 of the Workers’ Statute, which made it mandatory to reinstate in a company an employee who had been unfairly dismissed.

The Secretary General of CGIL, Susanna Camusso, announced that her organisation would continue its fight on this issue and would take it to the European Court of Human Rights. CGIL had success with two other demands, however. The Constitutional Court agreed to a referendum aimed at doing away with ‘vouchers’, which can be used to pay people carrying out occasional, incidental work but do not afford the protection of a work contract. In addition, a further referendum will be held with a view to doing away with the provisions limiting joint and several liability between a main contractor (or principal) and an employer in the case of violations of the rights of workers. A referendum on these two issues will be held between 15 April and 15 June, but it will be cancelled if the parliament amends the law before then, as the government hopes.

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